There’s Still Time

transplanting an Astilbe to a new garden spot

transplanting an Astilbe to a new garden spot

Frequently, usually after the 4th of July, we are asked if it is too late to plant perennials and woody plants. It seems that many people believe that spring and early summer is not only the best time to plant, but the only time you can plant, and be successful. The truth is, now through September, and even into October, is an excellent time to plant. Right now you can see your garden in full growth. If there is any editing to be done, you can see what needs to be moved, divided, or even if new plants should be added, without relying on memory next spring and before things emerge at that time. Any color or texture combinations you might change or create are easier with the foliage still up on the plants. As the temperatures start to cool, and with light to moderate water needs, the plants are fairly easy to to care for. With most of the growth in foliage done for the season, the plants put more energy into putting on new roots and forming larger crowns. This makes for a more established plant for the next year that is apt to be more mature with bigger size and more blooms. With the exception of those that prefer to be handled later in the season ( example: hellebores, peonies) we are presently dividing our plants into containers for this fall and next years sales, and will continue to do so into October.
removing the spent blooms before transplanting

removing the spent blooms before transplanting

Most of the display gardens here were planted towards the end of the season because one; we have more time then to do so, and two; they will require less maintainence from us for the remainder of the growing season. The biggest advantage being that we can see what changes need to be made. For an example, we have a variegated Cimicifuga that is being crowded by one of the large Veronicastrum. This will be dug anyday now and moved to a different location. It’s best not to transplant if it is a really hot day, better to do this in the early morning or late in the day. Always water plants well after transplanting and make sure they don’t dry out, but do not over water and saturate the plant. Many people are visiting the nursery for the first time this season to buy plants for their late summer and fall planting. Some are even planting entire new beds that they have spent the summer designing and getting the site ready. So if you have the time, there is still plenty of opportunity to plant.
Astilbe transplanted to its new location

Astilbe transplanted to its new location

Winter Reading at Fernwood

Book ImageRecently a good friend sent us this excellent book on Chinese plants. ‘Guide to the Flowers of Western China’ by Christopher Grey-Wilson & Philip Cribb, It is an amazing compilation of valuable information on over 2,700 plants from one of the world’s richest temperate areas. Western China, the books focus, especially the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan, has been explored for some time because of the vast diversity and richness of the flora. China, as a country, has about 12% of the world’s plant biodiversity. Thirty thousand species of higher plants, compared to 17,000 species of higher plants in North America (US and Canada).

With over 2,000 photos and detailed information about each plant and its habitat, the reader can get a very good description of those plants that they think might be in their garden, and those that one can lust for and try to obtain and grow. Many plants from China are already mainstays in our gardens, Astilbe, Paeonia, and Cimicifuga are just a few with more being discovered, propagated, and made available to us. The anticipation of these plants and their future cultivars will certainly be something to look forward to, especially for the plant enthusiast. Continue reading